Friday, May 13, 2005


Cool weather, spring season, flower smell, the motion of fresh green leaves, everything is full of life, wind blows outside in the yard, i can hear it, i wish i could feel it all around my body, I am far from nature, far from source of movement, i can remember the last time i could feel the wind blowing around my neck and moving my hair, what a great pleasure, i was about 8 years old, i had gone to north of iran with my family for few days, i had recently started wearing scarf because mother had told me i was old enough to cover my hair, that day we went to a park beside sea, the park was not crowded, i took out my scarf and looked at mother to see her reaction, she said that was ok as the park was not crowded! it was my last chance, i kept running, singing, laughing, listenning to sea waves, salty smell, feeling the wind, and running and running, i was a happy child, That was the last time...

we went to park many many times after that day, but my role was changed, i was not a "happy child" anymore, now i was changed into a "thing" coverd in back veil, this thing couldn't run easily, she had to take care of the family honor! she could just sit beside other members of this family pretending to be sedate and degnified, just like any other female child i was imitating the elder female members of my family, family didn't expect me to be a happy active child, didn't expect me to laugh, to run, to enjoy life, but being polite and covered in black long clothes i could be a good girl and they accepted me! it was not important how much i loved the wind movement around my neck, there had to be a scarf and a veil covring my neck because... beacues ? why? did i have any reason for this? aha, because mother had said so!

This was one of the first lessons i got, "It's not important what you need or love, you should obey and do what family dictates, or the family will reject you!"... now after some years, i'm not a child anymore, i'm in a bigger society that expects me the same thing, DONT BE YOURSELF, NEGLECT YOUR NEEDS, BE WHAT WE WANT YOU TO BE, OR WE WILL REJECT YOU!

35 Comments:

Blogger Ron said...

That seemed to be the same situation when I lived in India last year. The idea of following your dreams, being an individual, and taking your own path in life, was non existent there.

You were to do what your parents decided for you, and what was allowable for your caste and culture. Young people were expected to get a job quickly, and immediately start a family. Why, I do not know, there is no shortage of people in India, but there is a cultural imperative to make a family NOW!

But cultures were the individual is de-emphasized, are cultures where the individual is powerless to change their own lives or to better their country, so that is why you see so little invention or innovation from that part of the world.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, everyone has that same experience to some degree. I'm thinking of after I had my first child, how it seemed I was in a prison of the wants, needs, and desires of others. I'm sure my husband felt the same oppression from my demands that he take more on so that I could have some personal freedom. It turns out growing up is just more and more about everybody else.
Atmikha

6:37 PM  
Blogger KL said...

I love your blog. I've been a regular visitor to your blog whenever you update it. But, this post was really moving and I could not leave your blog without commenting.

It's true that our culture, parents, demand lots of things from us, but atleast we've the freedom to do whatever we like. But, the women in Middle eastern countries don't have that - they are robbed of their identities/childhood from such tender age as you mentioned in your post. I only fervently wish that these things go away soon.

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Anonymous Georg Hausherr said...

Hello Fatema,

Yesterday I made a comment but it disappeared in the pipeline.

Your description is truly moving and remarkable as well for your total absence of self pity, just some sadness. Your English is so good, you could be a writer. But don't go for it, there are already more books and articles than people to read them.

Unfortunately, you do not tell if you life during childhood and later
is typical for Iran or not. To me it looks like you have been in prison:
no iron bars to lock you in but plenty of rules and no leeway. You are living in a strange country, at least seen from here.

There are two ways to get lost, one is the internet the other a one-way
air plane ticket.

Cheers to you
Georg

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Anonymous President Evil said...

You may know me for my previous, to me and some other, enlightening comment about that "Mantua" stuff, though you never took the trouble of leaving me a credible response. Anyway, I believe we should refer to our symbolisms. As far as I have researched, there happened to be NO (I strongly insist) visage of any nakedness among women (let alone men!) in the Iranian ancient tokens.
Upon referring to this, I should like to make it clear that that "Hijab" you, cunningly, try to emancipate yourself from it, has its own thought underneath. No one has ever been opposed to nature's charming features; yet, it does not mean to vainly contravene the rules of the "so-called" creed of the majority. I do not want to justify whatever oppressions going to women these days, for I believe many of them are baseless. But as already stated, spitting at other people's credos seems to be quite partial, especially when we are talking universally.
Take care baby,

8:32 PM  
Anonymous ekeneso said...

i think this post is beautiful and moving. no vanity in your words, and when you speak about beauty, it's just a tender thing.

i've heard a lot of discussion about the female coverage in islamic society (inside western countries) and islamic countries. but what you said is the simpliest thing.
it's sad what you say but...i'll tell you something: i live in one of those "democratic" countries in which everybody can choose what to wear, do, say, think...but this is just apperiance. we are not forced to cover ourselves, but what you said about your role as a female, your behaviour, led me thing that women everywhere share the same situation.
i can feel the wind and the sun around me when i drive or when i'm not the beach with a bathing suit...but women aren't allowed to be what they are, even here.

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Anonymous Jeff said...

Wow! Fatema, your blog is really filled with rich insight and feeling! Thank you so much for sharing about your life and heart in living in your country. I am from the West. A few years ago I met a young woman in Europe who was from Iran. She was highly educated, a technical person, and very articulate. We talked for a few hours and I was surprised to see the way she thought and the things she struggled with. She had struggled through many of the things you describe in growing up and finally concluded that for her the only way out was to eventually to go another country. I was sad to hear how desperately she wanted to get away from the heavy oppression she felt. It was not that she hated her country or her people. It was just all too much. This is not to say that the freedom in the West is perfect or a utopia. There is unfairness in all cultures, but in general, I feel free to be who I want to be here. Others in her family had left years earlier and were happily living elsewhere.

I have known and worked with many people from Iran and they have been delightful people to work with and to enjoy as friends. Please know that many who read your blog are thinking about you and want the best for you, wherever you live and work today and tomorrow.

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Good luck in your new job...engineering is cool.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

girl u got issues, islam is a free religion ur complaining about CUSTOM AND TRADITION. as 4 the hijab, after u leave ur mothers house, ur welcome 2 take it off, loads of ppl believe in the wisdom behind the scarf, leave ur opinions to ur self and respect their choice keep your views to urself

6:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone has a right to dress the way they want so if a Muslim woman wants to wear hijab she should be able to and if she doesnt she souldn't be forced by the way have a look at muslimbase.com for some beautiful hijabs

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